“Someone else will lend a helping hand,” a physician told me once, when asked to help with an emergency in public.  As a PALS instructor for more than a decade, I have always responded when possible.  In the last decade, there have been three in-flight emergencies, two elderly individuals who passed out in church, and a host of other less serious maladies.  A week ago, I discovered the best reason I ...

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I love being an academic pediatrician.  I didn’t start out to do that; I thought I would be writing novels and working part-time in an inner-city clinic.  I wrote with Robert Penn Warren in college and my first (and only) novel was published when I was a senior in medical school.  But things don’t always turn out the way you expect them to.  In my case, I didn’t expect to be ...

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When, aged thirteen, my best friend died of complications from sickle cell disease, her parents could not attend her funeral, or find out where she was buried. My mom explained to me that in the Yoruba culture, because parents are not expected to survive their children, it is considered an abomination for a parent to know where their child is buried. So, the young adults in the extended family attended ...

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The American medical establishment has systematically clogged his arteries with paperwork, lined his lungs with rules, and filled his intestines with, that’s right you guessed it, shit. There he lay, in a comatose state, awaiting to be pronounced. Only one thing is sustaining his overworked body. Idealism. Four months into my intern year and I’m just realizing how crucial maintaining my idealism -- as unrealistic as it may be -- is to ...

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In the hallway the other day a colleague stopped me and said, "Hey, do you want to see something funny?" "Sure," I said, and he showed me the YouTube video called "How Anti-Vaxxers Sound to Normal People."  The video highlighted that those who choose not to vaccinate themselves or their children do so for reasons that do not make sense, and frankly seem somewhat absurd.  It is a very ...

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I remember a warm September day at the playground 22 years ago. I was there with my 19-month-old daughter and newborn son. Zack was hungry, so I sat down on a bench to nurse him -- but every time I got him settled, Michaela ran away from me. Far away, out-of-view away (she was a quick little thing). The playground was fenced in, but there were lots of ways for ...

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Physicians today are not held in the same high esteem as they used to be.  We are often portrayed as callous, intolerant, clutch-fisted, know-it-alls who schedule patients around our daily golf game.  (For the record, I do not play golf.)  Physicians are accomplished in the application of science, but we are not experts in public relations. We are human beings: mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters.  Like everyone ...

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Dads play a critical role in their kids' development.  Happy Father's Day from pediatrician-rapper Young IV!  

As many who are pediatricians or know pediatricians are aware, the quest to end gun violence is a passion for our profession and an advocacy issue of utmost importance for our professional organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Having practiced in areas with a high incidence of gun violence for most of my career until recently moving to California, I have seen first-hand how this tragic issue affects the ...

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A couple of years ago, “epic fail” was the phrase my teenage son used as I unsuccessfully attempted to beat him in a game we were playing. At the time, I thought to myself it was a harsh but accurate assessment of my performance. And I was certainly motivated to practice on my own so that the next time, things would be different. That same phrase came to mind as I ...

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